Lingerie And Corsetry Gift Guide 2016

Close up of corsetry gift voucher

I know it still seems a long way away but Christmas gift giving is just around the corner! Luckily our gift guide is here to help you choose thoughtful, independent, handmade luxuries for the corset lover or lingerie addict in your life. This year we have gifts starting from just £20, and even if you are looking at overseas shipping, it’s not too late to wrap up an Orchid creation to go under the tree, even if it’s one of our beautiful gift certificates! But act swiftly to beat the busy post times that are fast approaching!

£20-£40 Gift Guide

This year we have been designing furiously to make sure that there are plenty of options in this price bracket! First up, we have our Trinity collars, available in black, ivory, or black lace and burgandy with your choice of gold or silver fittings. These pieces have proven really popular and give an instant edgy style boost to an outfit. We even have a new release for Winter with a more dramatic triple drop with rings of ascending size in vibrant indigo blue!

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We are really proud to offer mesh corset bags, made to match our custom colour Perle corsets, though we can take custom size and colour requests to suit an existing corset. These handy little bags allow the corset to be hung up in the wardrobe or stacked in a drawer, with an easy view of which piece is inside and no lacing tangling with other clothes! A lovely finishing touch to an order, but a great gift in itself.

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Our lace and mesh masks have gained a lot of attention since we brought them out this month! Delicate gold or silver lace overlays with a choice of black or ivory mesh for a seductive, sultry boudoir piece that lets you gaze upon the world through precious French lace. We also have a matching vivid blue eyelash lace mask ready to ship, that matches our indigo collars perfectly!

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£50-£100 Gift Guide

It’s easy to put a smile on someone’s face with one of our lingerie harnesses- available in black, ivory, scarlet, indigo and new for Christmas- baby pink! Choose silver or gold fittings and style on top of a day to day outfit or with a favourite lingerie look to give it a new lease of life. Personally, I really like these on top of a plain fitted t-shirt or vest top with jeans, they look stylish and sophisticated but a little bit naughty!

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A gift set is a wonderful thing to unwrap, and the combination of our indigo collar and lace mask, beautifully presented in a branded box is just the thing for a romantic present. These pieces are feminine, elegant and striking with their bright colour way and seductive styling, and one size fits all so there’s no concerns about guessing her measurements!

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We sell gift vouchers in £100 denominations, ready for your recipient to choose from our range of accessories, lingerie and corsetry! We offer a bespoke service on our corsetry, allowing the customer to select every element of their design to fit their tastes and requirements. A perfect option for overseas buyers and those who aren’t confident about choosing sizing as a gift.

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£100+ Gift Guide

Lingerie is the classic gift to give a loved one at Christmas, and our wide range of styles use luxurious components such as silk, and French lace with contemporary styling that strays from flattering wrap-around briefs into daring cage bras. Many of our styles are adjustable and come in small, medium and large, making it easier to choose a great fit, but we are on hand for advice if you need it!

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Corsetry is where it all started for us, and you can treat your loved one to one of our Autumn/ Winter range of waspies, featured in this September’s Vogue! These pieces are standard sized so you can simply choose the usual waist size your corset lover wears, or use our handy sizing chart to work it out for yourself. Again, we are on hand for any advice you may need.

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Bespoke corsets are hard to give as a surprise gift but booking a personal fitting with gift certificates for a bespoke piece (and maybe a night away in one of Shrewsbury’s premium boutique hotels while you’re visiting us!) allows the recipient to experience the full pleasure of designing and commissioning a corset from scratch, with an experienced and inspired corsetiere.

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Recent Photoshoot Features for Orchid Corsetry- Part One

A beautiful image of model Danielle Sharp (MUA Natasha Devedlaka) wearing our Dusk bralette shot by Mick Ackland.

We’ve had the good fortune to work alongside some inspiring photographers this year, contributing our corsetry for other artists photoshoot plans and in some cases, making corsets especially for the occasion! One particularly exciting project saw me assisting Salleh Sparrow and Jack Creed on location at a derelict manor house and school as we shot a series of images drawing on themes of social anxiety, a personal project for Salleh which is now available as a coffee table book. The atmospheric and visually rich images that were created are just beautiful, and very eerie in their intensity. For this shoot I made an ivory silk fan-lacing ribbon corset, which was an experiment for me, and resulted in a striking finished look that drew on the styling of Victorian straitjackets. The final edited images are currently exclusive to the printed book (available from Salleh) but I can share some behind the scenes shots in the meantime.

A behind the scenes snap of model Salleh Sparrow wearing our ivory silk fan-laced ribbon corset and Dusk lingerie.
A behind the scenes snap of Salleh Sparrow wearing our ivory silk fan-laced ribbon corset and Dusk lingerie.
A behind the scenes snap of model Salleh Sparrow wearing our ivory silk fan-laced ribbon corset and Dusk lingerie.
A behind the scenes snap of Salleh Sparrow wearing our ivory silk fan-laced ribbon corset and Dusk lingerie. Make up and styling by Salleh.

I was also given the opportunity to send wardrobe along to a photographer who has been on my “dream team” list for some time- Mick Ackland. His distinctive brand of dark, intriguing cinematic image making has been a constant source of indulgent consumption for me, and to be asked to play a part in this art was a real honour. Photo’s are still coming through from Mick, but I purpose built a sheer waspie for this occasion which I hope will feature in some of his work.

A beautiful image of model Danielle Sharp (MUA Natasha Devedlaka) wearing our Dusk bralette shot by Mick Ackland.
A beautiful image of Danielle Sharp (MUA Natasha Devedlaka) wearing our Dusk bralette shot by Mick Ackland.

The beautiful model Danielle Sharp (MUA Natasha Devedlaka) wearing our Clouds bralette and panties shot by Mick Ackland.

Danielle Sharp (MUA Natasha Devedlaka) wearing our Clouds bralette and panties shot by Mick Ackland.

SS15 collection- En Plein Air

Model wears grey waspie and matching lingerie

We couldn’t be happier or more proud as we release our first seasonal collection! SS15 responds to the theme of “En Plein Air” or “Yn Yr Awyr Agored” in my native tongue of Welsh. In the process of building up a portfolio of designs inspired by the great outdoors this became an increasingly personal body of work, drawing on specific moments that I treasure from the rugged and breathtaking landscape that I grew up in, as well as adventures from more recent times, including a glorious day at Aberdovey harbour with my love when we had just met. I wanted to draw from the sentimentality that these places can hold for us against the raw power and thrill of nature, the way that our human lives interplay with the timeless landscape.

Choosing our team for the photoshoot wasn’t all that hard when it came down to it. I have been looking for an opportunity to work with Julian Kilsby for some time, a photographer based in Birmingham whose reputation precedes him in every sphere, and this seemed like the ideal time to draw on his talents. Julian and I share a love for Guy Bourdain’s darkly sensual fashion photography, and this allure is really visible in his work to date. We talked about some models whom we were both excited by and agreed wholeheartedly on Miss Miranda. Miranda and I have previously worked together on our Gilded Cages collection, and I was so pleased that she could join us on this project. Every image I see of Miranda has an iconic feel, and I often refer to her as my muse because she really seems to wear the mood of each photoshoot like a second skin, weaving her own artistry with that of designer and photographer.

The final styling of the photoshoot sets were a complete surprise to me- I simply told Julian a little about what I was bringing along with a few in-progress photographs and he worked his own way into the theme. He saw that although we were talking about a shoot inspired by nature we would be working indoors (it was February after all!) and that we had an opportunity to play with the artificiality of the scenario (another link back to Guy Bourdain) by allowing a little of the studio into the scenes- a light left in shot, the back of the sets used to show the 2D nature of it all. But the real magic comes in with a combination of Julian’s subtlety and cleverness with lighting and Miranda’s delicacy with pose and presence. For me, it’s only on second appraisal of the images that one starts to pick out these details, what is initially viewed as a vibrant moment captured with a beautiful woman at the heart of it becomes something more complex and dynamic. A layer of concepts and perceptions that is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

No collection I have ever produced has been perfect. There are many compromises that have to be made in order to get all the pieces together in time, and SS15 is no exception. Are there things I’d do differently next time? Absolutely. I made a few last minute changes to pieces that didn’t work (boning accents on First Light!) and experimented with new construction techniques that I will probably not repeat (alternative flatlining method on “Silhouettes at Sunset”) but as a body of work I feel that is my strongest offering so far, especially as it’s the most ambitious project I’ve ever attempted, with 6 separate looks including full lingerie sets! I’m trying to move onto a stage in my career where instead of trying to hide mistakes, I embrace what I’ve learned from them and take it for experience. After all, what is a photoshoot for, if not an excuse to stretch your boundaries and experiment!

I hope you enjoy En Plein Air. It’s been a pleasure from this side of the sewing machine.

Postcards From The Orchid Corsetry Studio- January 2015

Detail shot of the marine and ivory silk "En Regate" underbust corset.

In the postbag from the Orchid Corsetry studio this month- New Year’s goals, plans under way, and the big reveal begins.

As promised, the new year has seen us beginning to trail glimpses of the new collection of corsetry before the official release of SS15, including the first views of our upcoming lingerie range which has us really excited and extremely busy making plans for alternative colours available and refining the finishing touches. At first, the underwired bra will be available in sizes 32A-38D, with a flexibility on back size and sister sizing of cups due the styling of the piece but we are asking you to get in touch with us if your needs are not catered to this season so we can judge demand for future releases. We are aware that fuller busted women often feel disappointed that more brands don’t provide for them, and operating as an independent designer means that we are more challenged than the “big names” to provide a wide range but we always consider you, and endeavor to please wherever possible.

January has always been a time when we hear from our waist training regulars, in search of a new goal or aesthetic, but also when we meet a new crowd of eager tightlacers, ready to make their first steps towards bringing corsetry into their lives. The new year started with a bang, and below you can see one of the classic waist training underbusts that have gone to join their new owner this month. If you are considering your own waist training journey, you may find this article helpful.

A beige coutil training corset.
A beautiful silhouette makes this everyday training corset an exceptional piece for any collection. This is made for a client looking for discreet wear beneath clothing on a regular basis, and everything about it is tailored towards invisibility and a seamless integration into your wardrobe.
Detail shot of the marine and ivory silk "En Regate" underbust corset.
First up from SS15, “En Regate” is a 12 panel underbust corset cobwebbed with graphic flowing lines that interlock and wind intimately around the body. An Orchid signature piece of cool contemporary expression.
A close up of Orchid Corsetry's strap-back bondage bra
We will be offering colour variants on our new lingerie collection, and the fresh marine tones used in our “En Regate” corset will also be available in a rich ebony black silk, matched with gold fixings. This underwired, strap-back plunge bra is all about sleek lines, firm structures and suggestions of elegant bondage.
Grey coutil waspie with blue lace detail.
“Clouds Over Stormy Skies” is a minimalist, structured waspie made in soft grey coutil with flashes of indigo Leavers lace and blue central stitching on the double boning channels that run across the surface of this corset. Accompanying lingerie will echo the cool grey tones and the delicacy of the lace.
Close up of the new underbust corset "First Light""
“First Light” responds to the current barely-there cellophane trend. A 14 panel underbust made in sheer mesh with ivory silk accents and drapes of fresh, sparkling beaded lace that lend clarity to an otherwise soft and misty piece.
A black cupped overbust corset on a mannequin.
And last but not least, we have a sample cupped overbust we made for one of our mannequins in the studio. A simple piece to showcase the architecture of the corset, made in black boutonniere coutil with subtle tulle lace softening the bust and hip lines of the corset.

A Guide To Ordering Your Bespoke Bridal Corset

An ivory coutil overbust and underbust corset for a returning client.

It’s such an honour when a bride selects you as the maker of… well, anything intended for her wedding day, because you will be contributing to one of the most memorable days in a persons life, something they may have been dreaming of since childhood, and you have a chance to help them create a truly personal and meaningful occasion. This is one of the great joys of the job, and every year we take on a select number of bridal corset commissions to help weave that web of poise and elegance, and more often than not, it all starts with the underwear.

An ivory coutil overbust and underbust corset for a returning client.

Corsets as bridal underwear

Many of our brides have already lost their heart to an exquisite gown by the time we meet, and their needs are for a garment that will offer some light figure shaping and control with good bust support so that they can avoid the straps of a bra showing. The most popular style for this set of needs is one of our cupped corsets, which offers a more natural, rounded bust shape than the more traditional princess seamed overbust and is a really comfortable style for long periods of wear. The cups are drafted especially for each clients bust, and the lower half of the corset will be made using the panel style that best suits the individuals figure and needs for the day. This allows us to be really responsive to the requirements of the client and to create a bridal corset that is flattering and supportive in all the right ways, and can even be the starting point of a love of corsets for newcomers!

Timescale is the main limiting factor in pieces like this- a cupped overbust is our most involved style where individual engineering is concerned, and we advise clients to expect three toile fittings at our studio in addition to the initial consultation and measurement taking. At present we only offer this style with in-house fittings, so as to provide the very best service possible.  Naturally, the times involved are dependent on how flexible the bride is in attending fittings, but on average we ask brides to plan for beginning the process in earnest at least 3 months prior to the date the corset is required. You would be surprised how quickly that time goes!

This brings us to the main issue we see with bridal underwear commissions- all too often we only hear from our client 6 weeks before her dressmaker needs to see her in all her underwear for the initial fitting or alterations. For many of us, a wedding dress will be the first garment we’ve ever had made from scratch, or had to order 6 months ahead, and it comes as a shock that everything needs to be set in place so early for the process to run smoothly. Shoes and underwear affect the fit of a garment so much more than most of us will realise at the early stages of planning a wedding, and when you bring a corset into the equation the entire fit of the dress is being challenged as proportions are redistributed and your posture is straightened and held snugly in place. There is a lot more for the dressmaker to do than simply make the gown at the reduced waist size, so your underwear should be considered at the same time as the style of dress you intend to commission or buy.


Detail from a Wedgwood blue satin corset with cream lace over and under-lapping boning accents

Bridal corsets as part of your wedding ensemble

It’s become increasingly popular to wear separates instead of a traditional bridal gown, and a corset and skirt combination can be a really great approach to this contemporary bridal styling. A bridal corset is a perfect base for delicate, detailed embellishment of many different types, including trailing organically styled lace appliques, several gently toning shades of silk to highlight the silhouette and create a more architectural aesthetic, or even twinkling clusters of crystal emerging from the hip-line or descending from the bust. Our clients almost always request overbust corsets for this style of outfit (though underbusts or waspies can be used to great effect with Grecian style gowns, or draped sari’s) and the most popular style is our princess seamed overbust which is considered the more classic overbust design, with cuirass style paneling and romantic sweeping lines that lengthen the torso. Fuller busted clients can still opt for the cupped overbust for support and a more personalised approach to the shaping, and either style can be made to give more coverage around the chest and shoulders with a draped halter-neck, or tailored strap.

These pieces usually require a collaboration between the designer of the skirt and ourselves, often including fine details such as purchasing the silks from the same roll so as to avoid any colour variations where a perfect match is required. Again, dates will be crucial, and may be led by whether the skirt maker requires the corset completed for any stage of their fitting or construction process, toiles will still be required for the princess seamed overbust, and a minimum of 3 months should be allowed from first consultation to the required date of completion. These corsets tend to be more demanding from the design and embellishment side, and clear concepts of your wedding theme or desired aesthetics for the bridal outfit will help us to make the corset an integral part, or even a centre-piece of your celebrations.

Soft champagne hues of a silk ribbon corset

Losing weight before the wedding

Our experience with brides over the years has taught us that most women aim to begin a new diet or exercise program leading up to the wedding day, and whilst we understand the drive for a healthy start to your new married life, it is important to consider your goals as early on as you possibly can.  For a corset being created especially for a single event, we cannot work with measurements that are expected to change dramatically. It’s often assumed that because corsets lace up, there is adjustment in the piece, and that it can accommodate you at a smaller size. Whilst this is true, and allowances can be made for more every-day items, the fitting process for a bespoke item of this nature relies on stable body sizes, most particularly for cupped overbust corsets, as the cup shape is drafted to your individual size, and weight loss will inevitably affect your bust-line or volume. Put simply, a corset primarily made for one special day has to be measured and cut to one size. If we allow for weight loss that is not achieved in time, or if the weight loss affects the figure in a different way than predicted, the corset will simply not fit well, and our main goal is to provide you with a beautiful garment that exceeds your needs in every respect.

With this in mind, an ideal situation would run as follows. Let us say that it is August 2014 when you decide on a 1st September 2015 wedding. You already know that you would like a gown by a certain designer, and they have informed you that it will be a 6 month lead time, and you will need your shoes and underwear ready for fittings and alterations 6 weeks before the wedding. This means that you require your corset from us by mid July at the very latest, and with us requiring a minimum of 3 months from first consultation and measurement taking to delivering your finished corset, we would need to meet you in person around mid April, if not earlier. Let us say that you would like to lose half a stone for the wedding day. Allowing a month for you to monitor your new stable weight, you would need to have reached your goal-weight by mid March so that when we meet you for your first consultation, every measurement we take can be relied upon as a fair representation of your size.

Rear view of teal silk cupped-overbust corset.

We still encourage new brides to contact us well ahead of time to make appointments, discuss ideas, and just so that we know to expect you! In particular, our summer bridal demands can be intense, and as there are limited spaces available the earlier we know about your plans, the more options we can make available to you.  An example might be ordering in designer lace from overseas, or sourcing a difficult colour match in your desired fabrics. Even if you fear you are too late for the corset you had originally envisaged, don’t be afraid to give us a call to discuss your needs- we may have an alternative suggestion for you to help you create your desired ensemble, or we may be able to work around your deadlines. Either way, you will find a friendly reception and a creative mind to share ideas with as you dream of your special day. We’ll look forward to hearing from you.